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CODAsummit: The Intersection of Art, Technology and Place

Last week the A+A project managers took part in the CODAworx Summit: The Intersection of Art, Technology and Place in El Paso Texas. The focus was on the ways creative professionals are incorporating technology to create innovative art, and how that is changing the way we experience our environments.

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The underlying theme however was community. Holding the summit in El Paso only emphasized that after recent tragic events. Tracey Jerome, Director, City of El Paso Museums & Cultural Affairs spoke to how the art community played a large part in the healing process for the community at large. Inspiring murals popped up all over town, the Airway gateway sculpture remained solid blue in solidarity, and makeshift memorials sprung up throughout the city. Keynote Speakers included artist Guto Requena, Refik Anadol, and Rafael Lozano-Hemmer whose new art installation highlighting the connection between El Paso and Juarez is set to open in November.

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Discussion Panels included people from varying backgrounds and different perspectives such as Denver’s Public Art Program Manager, Meow Wolf’s Director of Collaboration, The Montefiore Health Systems Curator, and Burning Man's Art Department Project Manager.

With all these incredible sessions plus all the vendors, artists, and others presenting throughout the 2 days, our team was able to soak up an incredible amount of knowledge on some of the most cutting edge and creatively used technology being transformed into unreal artworks around the globe.

In all honestly, our heads are still spinning. On several occasions since, we have attempted to dissect how one makes an AI computer hallucinate on 100 million photographic memories to create a projection on a Concert Hall.

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While some artists have re-engineered timeless designs with modern programming, making the technology the center of the artwork, others are making the human interaction the focus, with simple technology supporting this connection in the background. Either way you lean, we are in an exciting place in history where scientist and artist now speak the same language, and walls are no longer boundaries for what art can be in public spaces. Virtual Reality is currently being used in hospitals to connect patients to their familiar neighborhoods, do full scale mockups to work out design issues, and even in installing large scale pieces. Imagine wearing a headset that projects a map on a surface telling you exactly where to drill 1,000 anchors to support your art piece. A week install is now done in a day thanks to this technology.

With all this digital artwork comes new challenges even the seasoned consultant would struggle with. We dove in deep with lessons on Preservation and Maintenance of these pieces with Kate Weinstein, Collections Manager & Registrar, Thoma Art Foundation. A great example of why this is important came with the story of having to change a projector lamp every 3 months. The client was probably not thinking of that when they installed their new exciting piece, but insuring there are staff and funds handing all maintenance upkeep is very important to consider when determining an art budget. Art +Artisans can outline the pre-acquisition steps, acquisition prep, testing, and ongoing maintenance of your digital art. When selecting digital artist for clients we know the questions to ask and how to make sure your digital art has the maintenance and preservation to last years.

This years summit did not disappoint, and we look forward to seeing what 2020 holds for the art and tech world.

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